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Mental Warfare: Caldwell vs Pletcher

Mental Warfare: Caldwell vs Pletcher

The pre-match mental warfare between Caldwell and Pletcher has been cordial but pointed. Before watching their match, check out their back-and-forth.

Jul 20, 2020 by David Bray
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Darrion Caldwell and Luke Pletcher are two of the friendliest guys around, but they're both killers on the mat. While their comments about one another during interviews have been largely pleasant and complimentary, there is just enough an edge to their responses to indicate that these guys are aware of the mental warfare they're waging.

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Darrion Caldwell and Luke Pletcher are two of the friendliest guys around, but they're both killers on the mat. While their comments about one another during interviews have been largely pleasant and complimentary, there is just enough an edge to their responses to indicate that these guys are aware of the mental warfare they're waging.

Watch Caldwell vs Pletcher LIVE on FloWrestling

Saturday, July 25, 2020 |  8:00 PM EST

When the July 25 card was officially announced, Pletcher was slated to wrestle NCAA Champ Anthony Ashnault, but an injury to Ashnault left Pletcher in need of an opponent.

A number of excellent competitors were interested in the bout, but Pletcher ultimately agreed on terms with 2009 NCAA Champion Darrion Caldwell.

Since the two agreed to the match, each has commented on the bout, and the two have engaged in subtle mental warfare that centers around the threats presented by Caldwell's dangerous style and the problematic pace that Pletcher brings to the mat.

Caldwell Wants Pletcher to Know He's Dangerous

Darrion Caldwell is known to execute dangerous moves in big time spots. Whether it's a bundle against Lance Palmer at CKLV, a left headlock against Metcalf at NCAAs, or a spladle in any number of big matches, Caldwell can put up big points or a pin in a hurry.

He has been sure to emphasize that point when talking about his upcoming match with Luke Pletcher. In his recent appearance on The Bader Show, Caldwell explained that all of his most dangerous tricks will be in play on July 25. When Bader asked Caldwell whether headlocks and spladles would be in play, Caldwell responded,

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Everything. Everything's coming out the closet, bro.

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Pletcher is clearly aware of Darrion's dangerous style as he explained when he broke down match film on The Bader Show last week. Still, he seems to believe that his style will be positionally solid enough to handle Caldwell's tricks.

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Pletcher Threatens Caldwell With His Pace

Luke Pletcher knows that he has gone through the grind of wrestling training much more recently that Caldwell, and he's been sure to emphasize that point. It is remarkable to think that Pletcher was just a middle schooler for Caldwell's iconic win over Brent Metcalf in 2009.

While Pletcher has been respectful when referring to Caldwell's age, he has been sure to mention the gap as he did on The Bader Show last week in reference to Caldwell's 2009 NCAA final.

I watched it live. I can't remember where, or how old I was, but I was young. I was definitely young.

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In a recent interview, Caldwell downplayed concerns about his ability to keep up with Pletcher's pace by pointing out that his current fights are often scheduled for 25 minutes.

Six minutes is not 25 minutes. I see this thing going about two minutes. I'll give him about two minutes before I pin him.

That clip is at 29:30 in the following interview:

The Wolf" Darrion Caldwell

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When Pletcher heard this prediction on FloWrestling Radio Live, he laughed and explained that Caldwell would be unlikely to be able to keep up with his pace.

I do think he's going to come out swinging for a minute and a half, and I don't know how much more he's gonna have after that.

Pletcher talks about Caldwell from minutes 21-26 on this episode of FRL:

522. Luke Pletcher On Darrion Caldwell

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Will Darrion's proclamations of his dangerous style give Pletcher pause during the match? Will Pletcher's remarks about his pace and Caldwell's age result in Darrion taking unnecessary risks? We'll find out if the mental warfare impacts the match on July 25.